European Jewish communities on 'brink of extinction'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 15, 2010

The president of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) has warned of “a very dark period for the Jews in Europe.”

Moshe Kantor said: “Small Jewish communities are facing a situation where they are being physically, verbally and psychologically threatened by fundamentalist elements and their extreme left-wing cohorts on one side and the far-right neo-Nazis on the other.”

Following attacks on small communities across Europe, including an incident where a bloodied pig’s head was left in front of a Lithuanian synagogue, Mr Kantor said more protection was necessary.

He pointed to the city of Malmö in Sweden, where 79 crimes against Jewish residents were reported to police in 2009 – double the figure for 2008.

In July extremists exploded a firecracker outside the Malmö synagogue and last weekend there were reports of a group chanting “Heil Hitler” and “Jewish pigs” at participants at a Jewish event.

Mr Kantor also spoke about the comments by European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, in which he said that Middle East peace talks would fail because of the “Jewish lobby” and the belief amongst all Jews “that they are right.”

He said: “It demonstrates that antisemitism is at best actively promoted and at worst ignored by some officials in Europe.

“Due to this intolerable situation, small Jewish communities, like Malmö, are teetering on the brink of extinction.”

Last updated: 1:36pm, October 15 2010